Thengai Thogayal [Spicy Coconut Chutney]

 

Nutritionist and dietician speak a lot about the health benefits of adding coconut to our daily diet as it is rich in “Medium chain Fatty Acids” or as they call it as “Good Fats” which is one of the most important nutrient for our body. We South Indians can proudly say that we have been following a tradition of including coconut in our diet on a daily basis even before these researches had started. It is the easiest form of seasoning we add to enhance the flavor of a dish.

So here I have written down an easy chutney which goes well with rice, roti, idli, dosa …… almost everything. This is my husband’s favorite chutney to go with rice so I make this every week and he finishes the bowl before I could click picture so today I decided to make this chutney just to take a picture and update it on my blog So do not mind the amateur clicks as I could not charge my camera and had to take pictures using my phone 🙂

Ingredients:

Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup

Tadka/Seasoning:

Coconut oil – 1 tsp

Urad Dhal – 3 tsp

Red chillies – 3

Hing – 1/2 tsp

A small Piece of Tamarind

Salt – To taste

Method:

  1. Heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a small pan, once the oil is hot, add urad dhal, broken red chillies.
  2. Fry for few mins until the dhal and chillies are roasted well and turns brown
  3. Switch off the flame, add hing and tamarind to it [The heat of the oil is enough to soften the tamarind]
  4. Add scraped fresh coconut or dry grated coconut in a mixer jar and add the seasoning/Tadka to it
  5. Add salt to taste and grind it into a coarse mixture[ Add as little water as possible]
  6. Serve this on the side with steaming hot rice with a drizzle of ghee.
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Ready to Serve

Notes:

  • Both fresh and dry coconut works for this recipe and I have used dry grated coconut from local Indian grocery store
  • Do not grind the coconut for a long time, just pulse it few times, if not the oil oozes from the coconut and makes the chutney goey
  • Red chillies can be replaced with Green Chillies as well but do not use chill powder, trust me I have tried, it doesn’t taste good
  • The seasoning I have mentioned can be adjusted as per your taste, this is just my personal preference
  • Since coconut is used, the shelf life of this dish is less do not store for more than a day
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A Closer Image

 

Enjoy!!!

Baked Karela Chips

Karela is my all-time favorite vegetable, I can eat it in any form except raw :). Unfortunately, my family does not share the same passion for Karela like me so I always had to do something extra to mask the bitterness of Karela but the only option I see or hear from people is to fry them before adding it to any gravy or before making dry stir fry which is too much of a hassle and too many calories to indulge in. So in order to solve this problem, my dear dad came to my rescue, yes, you read it right! My dear father who is a great cook asked me to just add some tamarind (or) lemon juice to Karela and then bake /fry them to mask the bitterness. I was super excited and immediately bought 4 karela’s and baked some chips. Trust me, the magic worked and it tasted so good without a hint of bitterness in them. So here is the recipe for everyone to enjoy:

Ingredients:

Karela – 4 [Medium Size]

Lemon Juice – 3tbsp [From 1 big lemon]

Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsp [Adjust to taste]

Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp

Olive Oil – 1 Tbsp

Salt – To taste

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Seasoned Karela – Ready to go into the oven

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the paper with 1 tbsp of olive oil, you can increase the oil if you have more Karela but do not skip this step
  3. Slice the Karela normally i.e., not too thick or thin as they might not cook very well or might get burnt.
  4. Place the sliced Karela in a bowl, add the lemon juice, Red chilli Powder, Turmeric Powder and salt, toss them all well and set it aside for 5 mins.
  5. Arrange the Karela slices neatly in the greased sheet and bake them for 20-25 mins.
  6. Everyone’s oven are different so keep an eye on the chips, try to toss them in-between to allow them to cook evenly on both sides.
  7. After 25 mins, take the baking sheet out of the oven and allow them to cool for 10 mins.
  8. Slowly remove the chips from the sheet and store it in an air tight container once they cool down completely.

Notes:

  • Seasoning can be replaced or modified as per your taste. I have tried adding garlic powder, pepper powder as well instead of the red chilli powder, they both taste good with Karela.
  • The seasoned Karela can be fried as well instead of baking.
  • You can salt the Karela after baking but I prefer to salt them before baking as I can finish seasoning them at one shot.
  • The chips gets crispier as it cools down so store them once it gets to the room temperature.

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Enjoy!!!!

Ragi Vermicelli Upma

Everybody likes their breakfast to be both healthy and has to keep us full for a long time so I thought of posting this very simple and yummy ragi vermicelli upma. I was never a big fan of ragi and my mom would always insist me on  having it as porridge or dosa as ragi has a high iron content which is very essential nutrient for women but now after understanding that she was correct! [Because most of us are iron deficient:(] I try to incorporate ragi everyday in some form or the other.

While I was grocery shopping, I happen to see this ragi vermicelli packet which made me curious to try something interesting with it but once I came home my mind was blank I could not think of any dish with a “Vermicelli” apart from upma so I thought to play safe and followed the instructions to cook and made upma with just few table spoons of vermicelli as I was not sure how it would taste[Picky Eater 🙂 ] but trust me! it tastier than all other upma ‘s , I have been feasting on this alone for almost a month for breakfast and dinner, I sometimes steam it in the morning and just make the upma after coming back from work for a quick evening snack, it doesn’t need anything on the side, you can just have them with a cup of tea. I hope you all enjoy this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

Ragi Vermicelli – 1 cup

Water – Enough to soak the vermicelli

Onion – 1 medium [Finely Chopped]

Green chillies – 2

Ginger – small piece [Finely Chopped]

To Temper:

Oil – 2 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Urad dhal – ½ tsp

Hing Powder – 1/4 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprigs

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STEAMED RAGI VERMICELLI

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CHOPPED ONION, GINGER AND GREEN CHILLIES

 

Method:

  1. In a big pot, soak the ragi vermicelli with just enough water to cover the vermicelli for three minutes
  2. After three minutes, drain it completely and in a steamer/idli pot, steam it until the vermicelli is well cooked
  3. Transfer the vermicelli to a plate and let it cool
  4. Heat a kadai on medium heat, add 2 tbsp of oil into it
  5. Once the oil gets hot, add everything mentioned under ‘To Temper’ one after the other and sauté for 2 mins
  6. Add the ginger, green chillies and onions into the tempering and add ½ tsp of salt and Sauté the onions until they turn translucent or pink
  7. Now, add the steamed ragi vermicelli into this mixture and toss them all together by adding more salt as needed
  8. Reduce the flame to low and allow the upma to cook nicely for 4 mins[This step is to ensure all the flavors get mixed well into the ragi vermicelli]
  9. Serve the ragi vermicelli upma with coconut chutney or onion chutney
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Ragi upma ready to be served

 

Notes:

  • It is very important not to over soak the ragi as it might turn mushy
  • Steamed vegetables like carrot, potato, broccoli can also be added to make it more healthier
  • Do not cook the vermicelli over slow flame for a long time as it might dry out and it would be difficult to swallow

Boondi Laddoo

HAPPY DIWALI TO EVERYONE

 Diwali, the festival of lights is the most popular festival of India, it is famous for its Diya (Lamps), sweets and fireworks. Most of us light the lamps, burst a lots of fireworks , distribute sweets and celebrate this day with family and friends, although there are lots of reason and rituals behind this day, we consider it as a day of happiness and fun. So here I am to wish everyone a Happy Diwali with a simple sweet recipe called “Boondi Laddoo”

Ingredients:

For Boondi:

Besan/Chick Pea flour – 1 cup [Sieved]

Water – 1/3 cup

Turmeric powder – A Pinch

Ghee – 1 tbsp

Oil – To Deep fry

For Sugar Syrup:

White Sugar – 1 cup

Water – ½ cup

Saffron – few strands

Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp

Optional:

Cashews – 4 or 5 [broken into pieces]

Raisin – 5

Cloves – 5

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Method:

Sugar Syrup:

  1. Take a pan, add sugar, saffron strands and water into it and allow it to boil until it forms a single strand consistency.
  2. Add the cardamom powder to it and allow it to cool.

Boondi:

  1. To a bowl, add the besan, turmeric powder, Ghee and water to  make a lump free batter.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai, just enough to deep fry the boondi
  3. Use the spatula with holes, scoop some batter into it and tap it slowly over the hot oil.
  4. The batter seeps through the hole and forms the boondi
  5. Move them around in the oil to ensure they are all cooked well
  6. Drain them from the oil into a paper towel
  7. Add the boondi to the prepared sugar syrup immediately along with the optional ingredients and mix them well.

Laddoo:

  1. Take a big bowl of water, this is to dip your hands before making laddoo so it doesn’t get sticky and its easy to form the shape
  2. Dip your hands into the water and scoop out the boondi with a spoon into your palm
  3. Squeeze the boondi between your palm to form round shapes, the laddoo’s are ready to be served 🙂
  4. Store them in an air tight container, they stay well for 2 weeks.

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Notes:

  • The water should be added little by little while making the batter so that it doesn’t become too watery
  • Single Strand consistency – when you touch the sugar syrup between your index and thumb finger it should form a clean single line and not sticky or too thick, this consistency is very important
  • Food color could be used to make Orange/Red/Green laddoo if needed
  • Start making the laddoo when the syrup is luke warm do not let it sit for a long time as the sugar crystallizes

 

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Rava Laddoo

Happy Dasara/Navaratri Friends 

Finally I am back to blogging after a break, to share my recipes with all friends out there who visits my blog regularly and show their support and appreciation. Since the festival season has just begun I thought of posting a very simple sweet recipe called “RAVA LADOO” which I hope everyone is familiar with. Rava is the cream of wheat and ladoo is just the round shape, this can be made ahead of time and also has a long shelf life which makes it ideal for distributing to family and friends as a gift during Dasara and Diwali.

Ingredients:

Rava – ½ cup [I used the fine variety]

Granulated White Sugar – 1/3 cup

Melted Ghee – 5 tbsp

Cardamom Pods – 3 [Crushed]

Cashew nuts – 5[Broken into small pieces]

Raisins – 6

Method:

  1. Take a dry blender jar and powder the granulated white sugar along with the cardamom pods.
  2. Heat a kadai on medium flame, Add 1 tbsp of ghee to it, once the ghee is hot, add the broken cashews and raisins into it and fry for few mins until it turns golden brown
  3. Transfer the cashews and raisins into a separate bowl, in the same kadai add the rava and sauté until it turns light brown and waft with aroma
  1. Now mix the rava well with the cashew, raisin, sugar, cardamom and add the remaining ghee to the mixture
  2. Hold the mixture in the palm, start forming round shapes by pressing them between palms [You can slightly grease your palm with ghee]
  3. The round shape would form only if the laddoo’s are made when the mixture is not too dry.
  4. Make medium sized balls and store them in an air tight container.

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Notes:

  • Both fine and coarse variety of rava can be used, while using the coarser variety make sure to blend it in a mixer to make it finer before making the laddoo’s
  • Powdered sugar/Cardamom can be used instead of Granulated White Sugar and cardamom pods
  • Sometimes for a change I use chopped almonds, walnuts and dates instead of cashew and raisin directly without frying them in ghee
  • If you have problems forming the round shape, sprinkle some milk over the mixture and try to form the shape but adding milk reduces the shelf life to two days.

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Idli Upma

Have left over idli s or ls your idli batter really sour????Don’t worry, I have a quick fix for it, make upma out of it. Yes! Idli upma is so simple and yummy that you can have it as such without the need for anything on the side like chutney or sambar as it tastes so good. It needs just the basic ingredients available at home and can be made in a jiffy.I always make more number of idli’s for dinner so that I can have this upma for breakfast. You can store these in the refrigerator for two days also and microwave them for a minute when you are ready to serve.

Ingredients:

Home made idli – 5 ( broken/ mashed into tiny pieces or bite size pieces)

Onion – 1 ( medium )

Green chillies – 1 ( sliced thinly)

Ground nut – handful( roasted) – optional

Salt – to taste

To season:

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp

Urad dhal – 1 tsp

Red chillies – 1 ( broken into pieces )

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Hing powder – 1/8 tsp

Method:

1. Heat a thick bottomed wide kadai over medium flame, add a tbsp of oil into it.

2. Once the oil gets hot, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter

3. Then add urad dhal, curry leaves and hing powder, sauté until the dhal gets slightly brown

4. Now add the green chillies and sauté them for few seconds.

5. Add onions, sprinkle little salt over them, this makes the onions to cook quickly.

6. Sauté the onions until they turn translucent and pink

7. Now add the turmeric powder, ground nuts( optional) and the idli pieces, toss them all nicely until the pieces get well incorporated.

8. Simmer the flame and allow the upma to get cooked by tossing now and then for few mins until they look bright yellow and smells heavenly 🙂

9. Serve the upma warm as a evening snack or as a breakfast with a glass of warm milk or hot steaming filter coffee on the side.

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Taro Root Fry

Its always good to have steam or stir fried veggies but at times we crave for a crunchy alternative, so here I am back with a crunchy taro root fry. My husband inspired me to make these with the recipe given by him. Yes, he cooks really well and during my newly wed days he used to cook me something interesting everyday with the ingredients available at home 🙂 Then I took the reigns of cooking learning my way through the cooking ladder which gave me immense pride and pleasure.

This recipe is dedicated to all crunchy food lovers out there. this recipe can be made either fried or baked, I am going to write about both versions but as always I prefer the fried ones which are crunchy outside and soft inside. Sambar/ rasam/lime rice with these taro fry are a match made in heaven, you just can’t stop eating 🙂

Ingredients:

Taro root – 4 (medium size)

Oil – deep fry as needed

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Hing powder – 1/4 tsp

Salt – To taste

Method:

1. Wash and cook the whole taro root in boiling water until its cooked ( soft but not mushy)

2. Once they get cooked, peel and slice them into thin slices.

3. Heat oil in a kadai or a wide bottom pan on medium heat enough to fry the taro root slices.

4. Once the oil gets hot, carefully add the taro slices one after the other into the hot oil and fry until they turn golden brown on both sides.

5. Drain them in a paper towel and transfer them into a container

6. Add salt, red chilli powder, hing and toss them well until the taro root is all seasoned evenly.

7. Store them in a air tight container or serve it hot with rice and sambar

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Oven Method:

1. After step 2, preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Take a zip lock bag, add 2 tbsp of oil into it along with salt, red chilli powder and hing.

3. Add the taro root slices into the oil mixture inside the zip lock bag

4. Seal the ziplock bag and shake it well until the seasoning gets evenly spread over the taro slices

5. Take a cookie tray, line the taro slices in it and bake them until they are crispy and brown.

6. For a quick bake you can broil them as well but check constantly if not they get burnt easily

7. Everyone’s oven is different it took 15 mins to turn crisp so adjust the time as per your oven and thickness of the slice.

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Notes:

• Chilli powder can be replaced by pepper powder or chat masala

• The same method(s) can be used to prepare potato, raw banana or sweet potato chips.

Enjoy !!!!

Jeera Rasam (Spicy Cumin Soup)

Rasam is a famous South Indian dish(soup) which is had with hot rice, papad and ghee. I have named it as soup because of its watery consistency. I am a huge fan of this dish as it is so easy ,healthy and made with all stomach healthy ingredients like peppercorns, cumin, tomato and hing. On a cold rainy day, it is so divine to just have this rasam with hot rice 🙂 I make this for dinner when it snows in NY as I am lazy to cook(Most of the winter 🙂 🙂 ). I do not have the habit of making rasam powder as it slightly varies from sambar powder since I am using pepper and cumin, I have used sambar powder directly instead of rasam powder, you can use what ever works best for you.

Ingredients:

Tamarind – 1 tablespoon(Soaked in warm water)

Rasam/ Sambar powder – 1 tbsp

Tomato – 1 medium size(pureed)

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Hing powder – 1/4 tsp

Curry/Coriander leaves – As needed

Salt – To taste

To soak for half an hour:

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

Black Peppercorns – 1 tsp

Toor dhal – 1 tsp

Authentic vessel used – Tin vessel(metal coated vessel) – it adds special taste to your dish but you can use ordinary stainless steel or non stick vessel as well. I have used tin vessel(eeya sombu) here.

Soaked Ingredients

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Method:

  1. Add the ingredients mentioned under “To Soak” into a blender/mixer along with chopped tomato’s and grind them into a smooth paste.
  2. Extract the tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind and discard the chunky part.
  3. Add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, hing powder, salt into the tin vessel and allow it to boil for few mins until the raw smell of the  tamarind goes.
  4. Add a table spoon of sambhar powder into the boiling tamarind juice and boil for ten mins.
  5. Finally add the grinded mixture into it and simmer for 5 mins, close it with a lid when you simmer, this is to ensure the aroma of the rasam does not escape out 🙂
  6. Once it gets frothy, add the curry leaves and coriander leaves, serve hot with rice and papad.

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Healthy Bran Raisin Muffins

Having cereals or oats for breakfast everyday is really boring so at times I crave for something different, thats when I saw my muffin tray lying in my pantry, Then I decided,why not make a muffin??? I had a huge packet of wheat bran which I wanted to incorporated into it  to make it more healthier so here goes my very healthy bran muffin in which I have used apple sauce instead of butter, less sugar and bran+ whole wheat flour instead of “All” purpose flour.

This breakfast was whole some and I just had 2 of these muffins with a glass of orange juice which kept me full for three hours 🙂

Ingredients:

Wheat Bran – 1 1/2  cup

Whole Wheat Flour – ½ cup

All Purpose Flour – ½ cup

Apple Sauce – ½ cup

Baking powder – ½ tsp

Baking Soda – ½ tsp

Salt – A pinch

Brown Sugar – 1/3 cup

Milk – ½ cup

Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp

Raisins – ¼ cup (dusted with some flour)

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Line up the muffin tray with muffin liners or you can just spary them with oil or butter and use it.

  3. Heat ½ cup of milk until it is luke warm and mix it with 1 ½ cup of wheat bran, this is just to soften up the bran, set this aside for 15 mins.

  4. Sift the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a bowl.

  5. Take a large bowl, add the apple sauce, sugar and vanilla extract, mix them together such that it becomes creamy.

  6. Add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold them together.

  7. Finally add the bran and raisins to it.

  8. Scoop the batter into the muffin tray or the liners equally.

  9. Bake this in the oven for 30 mins. Keep an eye on the batter after 20 mins and insert a tooth pick in the center of a muffn, if it comes out clean then it is cooked.

  10. Allow it to cool for 15 mins. Serve it warm with some butter and tea.

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Notes:

  • Never remove the muffins from the liners when they are warm as they will stick to the liners and will be wasted so let it cool completely and then the muffins would peel out of the liners easily.

  • Oat bran can be used instead of wheat bran as well.

  • You can replace apple sauce with butter if you like.

  • Raisins can be replaced with nuts, strawberry or blueberry as per taste.

Cabbage Peas Poriyal/ Stir fry

This is a simple South Indian curry which goes well with sambar or any other gravy and is a must in our wedding feasts:) Since Cabbage is rich in fiber it has to be included adequately in our diet and I need not have to mention the health benefits of green peas so I try to add them where ever possible so here goes my recipe for cabbage peas stir fry.

Ingredients:

White or green or purple Cabbage – 1 cup (chopped finely or shredded)

Fresh or frozen peas – 1/ 2 cup

Coconut – 1/ 4 cup

Salt – to taste

For tempering :

Oil – 1 tsp

mustard seeds – 1 tsp

urad dhal – 1 tsp

red chillies – 2 (broken into pieces)

Hing powder – 1/ 4 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Method:

  1. Heat a wide bottom kadai over medium heat and add a tsp of oil to it.
  2. Once the oil gets hot, add the ingredients mentioned under ” tempering ” one after the other and fry it for 30 secs or until the urad dhal gets slightly coloured.
  3. Then add the cabbage and mix it well, sprinkle little water and close it with a lid or a plate. Mix it every 2 mins until the cabbage is soft.
  4. If you are using frozen peas you can add it after the cabbage gets cooked or if you are using fresh peas then add it with cabbage and allow it to get cooked.
  5. Finally add the coconut and salt, mix them all together and cook for 5 mins.
  6. Serve it hot with rice, sambhar or roti.

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